HomeTalent ManagementRewards & BenefitsEmployee BenefitsYoung employees demand better support with their finances and wellbeing

Young employees demand better support with their finances and wellbeing

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Around seven in ten (67%) admit that the cost of living crisis has changed their outlook on what is important to them and the same proportion (67%) would like more financial support from their employer.

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Increased financial support and benefits that promote better wellbeing top the list of younger employees’ wants for 2024, according to new research from employee benefits technology company, Zest.

The most popular benefits highlight the growing demand from younger employees for employers to better support their finances, and overall wellbeing, as younger people in particular continue to struggle with rising living costs.

“Never has the need for effective benefits packages been more apparent,” says Matt Russell, CEO of Zest.

“With many businesses unable to raise salaries during the cost of living crisis, benefits provide a way to support employees with their finances and overall wellbeing, both of which are being affected by the crisis.”

1Increased pension contribution (27%)
2Private medical insurance (26%)
3Paid mental health leave (24%
4Employer contribution to energy costs at home (21%)
5Discounts on high street shops and brands (20%
Workplace savings scheme (20%)
Figure 1: Most desired benefits for employees aged 18-34

Around seven in ten (67%) admit that the cost of living crisis has changed their outlook on what is important to them and the same proportion (67%) would like more financial support from their employer.

With a rise in hybrid working, more ‘traditional’ company perks such as assistance with travel costs are of lesser interest. Ranking among some of the most unpopular benefits was a season ticket loan (4%) and less than one in ten (8%) now want a cycle to work scheme.

“With the new hybrid world of work clearly established, more ‘traditional’ benefits such as support with travel costs, have become outdated,” Russell says.”

“Modern employees who work from home for half of the week, or entirely remotely, will benefit very little from a season ticket loan and according to our findings, would be far better off with paid mental health leave to use at their discretion.”

On the contrary, wellbeing benefits are on the rise – 31% of younger employees say that they want more wellbeing benefits, again higher than the average of 24%.

According to other research, a quarter say their mental wellbeing has never been worse because of money worries, increasing to more than a third (36%) of 25-34 year olds.

The link between poor finances and poor mental wellbeing could explain why a quarter (24%) of 18-34 year olds now want paid mental health leave – higher than the average of 18%.

As younger generations increasingly populate the workforce, listening to their needs is critical. 57% of this demographic now say that benefits packages are the most important thing they look for in employment, and 62% say that they would leave their current job if someone offered them benefits elsewhere.

With three in ten (29%) businesses being unable to raise salaries in line with inflation, employee benefits are a key way employers can support young workers in other ways beyond salary.

“With younger employees – who often place more value on their benefits than older generations – increasingly populating the workforce, businesses that are unable to effectively deliver on their needs will miss out in more ways than one,” says Russell.

Zest is an employee benefits technology company that currently serves large SMEs and Enterprise customers across the world including Hargreaves Lansdown, Taylor Wimpey, Yahoo and Travis Perkins.

*Findings were conducted by independent research agency Opinium which surveyed 2,000 adults weighted to be nationally representative between 1st – 5th December 2023 and 500 HR leaders between 7th and 12th June 2023.

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